We’ve got big news, ladies: Collegiettes™ really can eat delicious, diverse meals without breaking the bank.
“It is possible to eat well on a very tight budget,” says Monica Reinagel, the Nutrition Diva and author of the new book Nutrition Diva's Secrets for a Healthy Diet: What to Eat, What to Avoid, and What to Stop Worrying About, out this month. “But it takes some planning to make sure you have variety throughout the week.”
We set out to prove that, with some careful grocery list prep, you can whip up a week’s worth of meals (seven breakfasts, lunches, and dinners) for only $60. Divided evenly, that’s only $2.86 per meal! Check out 21 potential meals below. (And click through to the last page for our $60 grocery-shopping list and tips for eating well on a tight budget.) Try our recipes yourself, or swap out ingredients or dishes for your own favorites.
*All recipes serve one.
Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs with Cheddar Cheese
- ½ ounce cheddar cheese
- ½ tablespoon olive oil or nonstick cooking spray
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- Salt and pepper
- Dice the cheddar.
- Spread the olive oil or cooking spray onto a skillet, and place the skillet on a medium heat stovetop.
- Crack the eggs into a bowl. Then mix them together until they are an even light-yellow color.
- Add the egg mixture into the skillet, and turn the heat down to medium-low.
- Add the milk, then whisk with a fork until fully mixed.
- Add the cheddar, and allow the eggs to warm until they begin to bubble and the sides develop a film.
- Begin continuously pulling the sides of the eggs off of the skillet with a wooden spoon or spatula, pushing the eggs to the center so that all of the mixture gets cooked. Continue to do so until the eggs appear cooked through.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
Lunch: Caprese Sandwich, with a Pear
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 slices wheat bread
- 2 ounces mozzarella, sliced
- 6 grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/8 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 pear
- Spread ½ tablespoon olive oil onto one side of each slice of bread. Then add both to a large nonstick frying pan on medium heat. Allow the bread to sit for about 30 seconds, and then remove one slice.
- Add the mozzarella, then tomatoes, then basil to the slice of bread still on the pan. Top with the second slice.
- Leave the sandwich on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. (Check the bottom piece to see how brown it is after 2 minutes.) Flip the sandwich and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Enjoy with a pear on the side.
Dinner: Vegetable Stir-Fry with Rice
- ½ cup rice, dry
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ red pepper, in strips
- ½ green pepper, in strips
- 2/3 cup sugar snap peas
- 1 cup broccoli cuts
- Teriyaki or soy sauce, amount per your taste
- Boil water for the rice. Follow instructions on the rice bag, adjusting for ½ cup of rice. Pour the olive oil into the deepest frying pan you have. Add all of the veggies, and then turn on medium heat.
- Cover and let steam for about 10 minutes. Move the veggies around with a spoon occasionally to make sure that the frozen bits hug the bottom of the pan. It’s normal to have some water at the bottom. The vegetables should begin to look more vibrant in color.
- Drizzle your sauce throughout the pan, covering all vegetables. Adjust the amount based on your taste.
- Move the vegetables around with a wooden spoon to make sure the sauce covers all of them evenly. Then let sit for 5 minutes on low heat.